SBD/Issue 98/Leagues & Governing BodiesPrint All
Boras Helping A-Rod Prepare
Response To SI Report
THE REPORT: SI's Roberts & Epstein cited four sources as saying that Rodriguez in '03 "tested positive for two anabolic steroids," as his name "appears on a list of 104 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs" in MLB's survey testing. As part of a joint agreement with the MLBPA, the testing was "conducted to determine if it was necessary to impose mandatory random drug testing" across MLB in '04. Rodriguez Thursday declined to discuss the test results and said, "You'll have to talk to the union." MLB Exec VP/Labor Relations Rob Manfred Saturday in a statement said because the '03 survey testing was "intended to be non-disciplinary and anonymous, we can not make any comment on the accuracy of this report as it pertains to the player named." Meanwhile, three MLBers said that Rodriguez in early September '04 was tipped by MLBPA COO Gene Orza that he "would be tested later that month." Rodriguez declined to comment on whether Orza warned him. Orza Friday said of the tipping allegations, "I'm not interested in discussing this information with you" (SI.com, 2/7).
STILL ON FOR UM FUNCTION: In New Jersey, Pete Caldera notes while there is "no word about when Rodriguez might speak” publicly for the first time since the report surfaced, the Univ. of Miami (UM) is scheduled to honor Rodriguez Friday at a "dinner to rededicate its baseball field, Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Park." Rodriguez donated $3.9M to the school for the project. An associate of Rodriguez said that he "still planned to attend the event," and a UM spokesperson said that the event "would go on as scheduled" (Bergen RECORD, 2/9). In N.Y., Joshua Robinson writes because the UM event is a fundraiser that "depends heavily on Rodriguez's popularity and charisma, the dedication could turn into an early gauge of how much his image will suffer." The UM athletic department charged guests $75 each and $1,000 to sponsor a table at the dinner (N.Y. TIMES, 2/9).
Many Feel MLBPA To Blame For Rodriguez'
Being Linked To Positive Tests In '03
WHAT ABOUT OTHER PLAYERS ON THE LIST? In Boston, Tony Massarotti noted there reportedly were 103 other names on the list of players who failed the '03 test in addition to Rodriguez. Massarotti: "Who are the others? Why don't we know? ... We cannot help but wonder why certain sources selected Rodriguez's name from a list of 104 and streamlined it to the nation when 103 others effectively were ignored" (BOSTON.com, 2/8). Free agent P Curt Schilling Saturday on his blog wrote, "I’d be all for the 104 positives being named, and the game moving on if that is at all possible. In my opinion, if you don’t do that, then the other 600-700 players are going to be guilty by association, forever. ... It appears that not only was it 104, but three of the greatest of our, or any, generation appear to be on top of this list" (38PITCHES.WEEI.com, 2/7). In Dallas, Evan Grant wrote MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr "need to convene another emergency meeting of the minds and make all the test results from 2003 positive." The union needs to "prevail upon those players named in those reports to make public apologies," and then MLB and the MLBPA "need to get to work as soon as possible on adopting an anti-doping policy in line with the strictest in sports today" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/8).
WHO WOULD HAVE LEAKED INFO? In N.Y., Thompson & O'Keeffe write under the header, "Who Ratted Out Alex Rodriguez?" The list of people who knew Rodriguez was on the list is "short: a scorned player or teammate, a rogue union official, a vengeful prosecutor or federal agent or even somebody close to the player himself." The Rodriguez test results "could only have come from a handful of organizations and people who had knowledge of the 2003 drug testing results" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/9). N.Y. Times columnist William Rhoden said of Rodriguez' test results being released, “If I’m the (MLBPA), I am incensed, I am enraged. I want to find out who leaked it, why you leaked it, get to the bottom of this. … Here’s your classic confrontation between the media -- we want everything out -- and the people who want their rights protected, who say, ‘Who did this to me?’” He added, “This goes to the very highest reaches of baseball” ("Today," NBC, 2/8).
COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED: FOXSPORTS.com's Ken Rosenthal wrote, "Perhaps the union is getting a bad rap, but it has been on the wrong side of this issue at every turn. For years, union officials refused to acknowledge the extent of the steroid problem. ... We should never have learned that A-Rod tested positive, but now we know. His image, the union's image and MLB's image will not easily recover, no matter how much spin they all apply" (FOXSPORTS.com, 2/8). In Denver, Terry Frei writes, "The biggest miracle in all of this is that the A-Rod results didn't leak sooner. It's a betrayal they were leaked at all" (DENVER POST, 2/9). N.Y. Daily News columnist Mike Lupica said of the union, "It turns out these guys can’t protect anybody. They’re incompetent in the terms of protecting their membership after trying to throw a human shield in front of them for the entire steroid era” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 2/8).
Report States That Orza Tipped A-Rod
Off To Upcoming Drug Test
TIPPING THE PITCH: The SI report claims Orza tipped Rodriguez as to when drug tests would be issued in September '04. In St. Louis, Bryan Burwell wrote by doing so, Orza was "either trying to rig the results of those 'surveys' to protect the entire flock of drug cheats in baseball or he was seeking to individually protect" Rodriguez. Instead of "trying to rid baseball of designer drugs," the MLBPA was "actively keeping the drug era alive and prospering." Orza and Fehr "can no longer be trusted, and that spells trouble for baseball's most powerful men." Burwell: "What happens now, when the tie that bound the union together for so long -- unquestioned and unshakable trust -- is now exposed as a flimsy sham?" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 2/8). MLB Network’s Bob Costas said of Orza tipping players, "You say what you want about the union and whether you disagreed with some of their positions, but they were always scrupulously honest. You never caught them in a lie. You never found them in any sort of impropriety in terms of the basic agreement. ... Donald Fehr and Gene Orza were always above reproach when it came to that. This is serious, not just for the particulars of this but for what it says for the union’s position overall on this issue” (MLB Network, 2/7).
DAMAGING CLAIMS: SI.com's Tom Verducci wrote the allegations that Orza tipped off Rodriguez "could be extremely damaging, threatening the gains in trust" MLB and the MLBPA "have made over the years." The report "has to be shocking to MLB, to think it thought it had a partner in good faith negotiations to clean up the game, only to read the union is actively protecting possible drug cheats." The report "potentially has enormous implications" (SI.com, 2/8). The GLOBE & MAIL's Jeff Blair writes the MLBPA "should never be in the position to play sheriff, but it damned straight ought not to be an abettor, either" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/9). CBSSPORTS.com's Scott Miller wrote the best the union could offer on the subject of performance-enhancing drugs was "ignorance ... at best, outright negligence at worst." Orza as recently as '04 "compared steroids to cigarettes." And if Orza "shouldn't have been tossed overboard for stupidity and arrogance then, he should be now with the report that he systematically was tipping players back in '03 of when the testers would arrive" (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/7). On Long Island, Ken Davidoff wrote Orza should be in trouble for tipping Rodriguez. Davidoff: "Will he be? Only if the union's constituency demands change" (NEWSDAY, 2/8). In S.F., Ray Ratto wrote, "Nobody within the baseball establishment is to be trusted on this issue. Ever, in any context. Not Bud Selig or his 30 bosses. Not Don Fehr or the union hierarchy. Not the players, not the media, nobody." Ratto: "We deal here with an industry -- sports, not just baseball -- that isn't really all that keen about addressing the problem because the industry knows that such a war will never end" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 2/8).
The Sports Illustrated report that Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in ’03 while with the Rangers is the "latest blow" for MLB, which is "confronting the fact that two of its best players over the past 25 years -- Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens -- are in legal jeopardy because of statements they made under oath that they never used performance-enhancing drugs,” according to Michael Schmidt of the N.Y. TIMES. Rodriguez is not in danger of being “ensnared in any legal proceedings” like Bonds and Clemens, and he will not be suspended by MLB because the test "took place before baseball imposed any penalties" for using PEDs. But the report “could affect his status in the game and could create a major distraction for him and his teammates with spring training set to begin this week." Meanwhile, the report also "revived an issue that may again prove troublesome" in the allegations that MLBPA COO Gene Orza tipped Rodriguez about the test. The report indicated that Orza also "warned several other high-profile players they were going to be tested shortly" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/8).
A-Rod Among Growing List Of
Stars Linked To Past Steroid Use
STEROID ERA NOT OVER YET: In Chicago, Rick Morrissey wrote, "As much as baseball wants the steroid scandal to go away -- remember investigator George Mitchell saying it was time to move forward? -- it can't possibly leave the premises now." Rodriguez was "supposed to be above the fray," as he "easily was the greatest hope to wipe out Bonds' home-run record" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/8). SI's Selena Roberts, who was one of two reporters to break the story, said that Rodriguez was the player MLB "had counted on to sort of be their feel-good guy. Until now, he had always said he was the clean one, and I think most people believed that.” SI’s Tom Verducci: “At least publicly, this does pull baseball back into the vortex of steroids" ("Evening News," CBS, 2/7). In DC, Thom Loverro writes, "Can we stop with the ridiculous notion that somehow this is all going to pass? Can we please stop insulting everyone's intelligence that somehow time will make all of this look better?" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/9). In Philadelphia, John Smallwood writes MLB "needs to just make it official" and "put an asterisk on the whole damn decade-and-a-half" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 2/9). In Detroit, Drew Sharp writes MLB's "entertainment value remains stronger than ever," but the sport's "integrity is dead." Sharp: "Don't every again refer to it as sport" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 2/9). In Houston, Richard Justice: "Welcome to the nightmare that won't end. ... We now understand there'll be no closure, certainly not now, maybe not ever" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 2/9). In Montreal, Jack Todd writes the "conclusion is inescapable: Baseball was and quite possibly still is so drug-riddled that every individual achievement going back at least as far as the mid-90s is called into question." Selig has "taken a lot of heat for presiding over this mess," but Orza and MLBPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr are "at least as culpable" (Montreal GAZETTE, 2/9).
BRONX BOMB: In N.Y., Mike Lupica writes the Yankees are "allowed to be surprised that the latest headlines about Rodriguez involve drugs just because the people running the team have been dumber than socks when the subject has been performance-enhancing drugs" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/9). In New Jersey, Ian O'Connor notes Yankees co-Chair Hank Steinbrenner in November ’07 signed off on a 10-year, $275M contract for Rodriguez, "never mind that the fan base couldn't stand A-Rod, and that the DNA of the game's most gifted player was so clearly missing that indefinable winner's gene." The signing will "go down among the most devastating mistakes in Yankees' history, a truth scheduled to be reinforced" if Rodriguez breaks the career home run record. The Yankees "can't void Rodriguez's contract," and they "can't even play the role of Tom Hicks and eat a healthy chunk of A-Rod's wage for his next employer." O'Connor: "There isn't going to be a next employer; Rodriguez is too radioactive for any team to take. So this is Hank's legacy" (Bergen RECORD, 2/9).
Manfred Defends Fixing
The MLB Credit Line
Fehr Says Too Soon To Draw Conclusions
About Marketplace And Economy
PASSED BALL: Free agent LF Manny Ramirez last week rejected a one-year, $25M offer from the Dodgers, and an AL exec said, "I'll be honest, I never thought Ramirez would walk away from a deal like that. ... Unless a team like the Yankees comes in at the last minute and gets it done, I just don't see where he's going to make more than $25[M]." In Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote the "reality of the market -- at least the way it's been presented -- is that as we get closer to the start of the season, there's less money available." Another MLB official said Ramirez' case is "strange because you understand why teams are not biting on his demands, yet you're surprised that teams aren't biting on his demands." Meanwhile, Cafardo reported commissions for MLB agents are "way down" this offseason (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/8).
Troy Vincent, If Elected,
Could Fire Top Execs
PLAYING POLITICS: YAHOO SPORTS' Cole wrote the battle for the NFLPA's Exec Dir vacancy has become "very political, very ugly and potentially very harmful to the hopes of avoiding labor strife in the next few years." Giants C and player rep Shaun O'Hara: "This is not a good time for us to be divided." Former NFLPA player rep Roman Oben said, "Whether it's Troy or Trace or any of the other candidates, we've gotten into tearing down their credentials rather than hearing their ideas. ... What's most disturbing to me is that we've gotten to this point that we view the NFLPA almost like a business because of all the money that's involved, and really what it's supposed to be is an organization to service the needs of the players." But Dawkins said, "I look at it as a positive thing for the union. If this causes player reps to look into their laptops more to understand the union issues and learn about the [CBA], that's a good thing" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/7).
NASCAR Cuts Ticket Prices For Daytona 500
To Appeal To More Fans Dealing With Economy
MAKING NOISE: Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. Thursday at NASCAR Media Day said track owners and operators "need to go back to work. ... They ain't had to sell tickets for a long time and none of them remembers how or knew how or ever learned how. ... They can dump that responsibility on drivers all they want, but the responsibility really lies in their hands. ... We already do a lot. We do (expletive) plenty." Meanwhile, SMI Chair & CEO Bruton Smith had suggested that drivers "do more to help racetracks sell tickets," and Earnhardt said, "I don't really want to go after Bruton; he is way too big." Earnhardt: "I am not telling anyone how to do their job" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/7). More Earnhardt: "I just wish it was easier to go see a race. I want the fans to have whatever they want. I want the racing to be like they want it. I want the drivers to have such diverse personalities that everyone has a favorite. ... You remember how it was 10 years ago? It seemed like nobody was really complaining about little things like camper parking, the traffic or the cost of a parking pass for the infield, whatever. ... Now these are big issues for some reason. (NASCAR) has to figure out how to fix that" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/7).
Writer Feels Daytona Speedweeks Needs To
Adjust Its Schedule To Be More Fan Appealing
NFLPA Files Legal Briefs Claiming
Burress Received 'Excessive' Punishment
INSIDE INFORMATION: In N.Y., Michael Schmidt cited court documents as indicating that former NFLer Dana Stubblefield provided the NFL "with information about the use of performance-enhancing drugs among players as part of his plea agreement with federal authorities." Stubblefield's sentencing documents indicated that he gave members of the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of California "the names of players, trainers and others associated with the league who may still be involved in 'activities with illegal drugs in professional football'" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/7).
SUMMER PLANS: In Boston, Marc Spears cited an NBA source as saying that "there would be no five-on-five games, referees, or team coaches during" the league's predraft camp this year. Physicals, drill work and interviews "will still be conducted" at the camp, which is "also expected to be moved from Orlando back to Chicago." The games "were considered the most valuable part of the evaluation process, and underclassmen could be hurt without them" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/8).
AMERICAN MADE: Design engineer Ken Anderson indicated that "a formal announcement of a two-car American Formula One team to be based in the Charlotte area is planned for later this month." Anderson, "one of the two principals" in the F1 team, said that "'95[%] of what you might have seen' about those plans in publications and on Web sites covering the world's most popular form of motorsports is true." Anderson added that the team "is close to signing one driver for the team that would debut in 2010" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/9).